The National Party's Whanganui electorate delegates have chosen Whanganui lawyer Harete Hipango to contest the September election.

She will go up against Labour's Steph Lewis and the Greens' Nicola Patrick.

Speaking on Sunday afternoon, after the voting in the party's "rigorous and thorough" selection process, Ms Hipango said she felt humbled and very privileged to be chosen.

She plans to transition out of her law duties to campaign full-time for the Whanganui seat.


Politics has always been part of her life, and she intends to make it her career - it will be "embarking on a new adventure", she said.

Current Whanganui MP Chester Borrows - who has held the seat for National for 12 years but who is quitting politics at the end of this parliamentary term - said it was the first time the party had chosen a Maori woman to contest a seat it held.

"I think that says a heck of a lot about Harete as a candidate."

The delegates had an excellent field to choose from, he said: Former Wanganui Chronicle general manager Andy Jarden, Whanganui dentist and district councillor Hadleigh Reid and South Taranaki farmer Warwick Fleming.

"This is a real blue ribbon day. The National Party membership have recognised that there's a big picture here."

He advised Ms Hipango to be herself, and said it became clear from her speeches that she was a professional advocate who was used to taking a cause to the highest level.

Asked how she felt about Maori traditionally not voting for National, Ms Hipango said traditions were always evolving and she had considerable support from Maori quarters.

"There are shifts in attitude, there's more access to education and opportunity and, post-Treaty settlement, Maori will have more economic engagement."


Asked whether she would have enough voter support in South Taranaki - a big part of the electorate - she said the delegates' voting was evidence of that.

Being Maori in the National Party will not be difficult for Ms Hipango.

"Part of my life skill is with diversity. I'm able to bridge some of those differences and close those gaps."

Acting electorate chairman Neil Walker was pleased with the result. He said Whanganui and South Taranaki had been a place of conflict and division and the choice of Ms Hipango would "close the circle" and bring reconciliation and understanding.

She had both warmth and eloquence, he said.

"The National Party needs more women candidates. I am proud to deliver on it."